8. asked the Office of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister what progress has been made on the introduction of e-government in OFMDFM, as a Department; the Executive and Government overall; and to make a statement on what plans there are for further developments over the next three years.
Last summer, the Executive endorsed targets for the electronic delivery of 25% of key Government services by 2002, with a target of 100% by 2005. That demonstrates the importance that the Executive attach to e-government as part of the commitment made to modernise Government in the Programme for Government. The Office of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister has the lead role in developing e-government. In November 2001, we published a corporate strategic framework that set out how Departments should develop their e-government plans. In line with that framework, all Departments, including OFMDFM, have produced an e-business strategy that sets out how we shall achieve the targets for electronic service delivery. The central IT unit in OFMDFM will commission an overarching e-business strategy that will draw together the common threads in the departmental strategies. It will set out the Executive’s priorities in electronic service delivery and the potential for joined-up service delivery.
The corporate strategic framework for the delivery of Government services specifies that Departments will consult with their customers to ensure that their needs are addressed. Will the Minister outline any processes that OFMDFM or the subsidiary bodies in the Department may have used to identify the needs of customers down the line? I am worried that, although we have the strategy — and I have no doubt that those who are at the head of political matters are doing the right thing — there is resistance down the line to adopt e-government practice through the ranks of the Civil Service.
As to the impressions of resistance that the Member has, the First Minister and I are happy to have any such evidence pointed out to us. An interdepartmental e-government board has been established, chaired by a senior official in our Department. The board is tasked with the delivery of the Executive’s vision of a modern and efficient public service alive to the latest developments in e-business and meeting the needs of businesses and citizens in Northern Ireland as all Departments go about the business of government in the modern context.
How many services does the Department provide, and how many are regarded as being key services? When does it expect to publish the comparative costs of electronic service delivery and the current paper transaction for the same service?